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We Have Always Lived In The Castle

1294 words - 6 pages

In the story We have always lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, the reader is presented with only one perspective and that is Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood's point of view. While many aspect were present, the one that really stood out was that the Blackwood family does not appreciate change. Everything is preserved: objects, food, routines, rooms, etc. So, it is clear that when facing situations that cause change, both Mary Katherine and Constance Blackwood, the two sisters who survived the murder of the family, would react a certain way. Merricat's reaction is seen through different stages from non-verbal, to verbal, to violent. On the other hand, ...view middle of the document...

She loves her life just the way it is and does not want anyone tempering with it. The second step seems to be a warning. She expresses what bothers her in hope that everything will go back to normal. That step was mostly seen when Merricat talked about her dislike of cousin Charles. She had, on multiple occasions, said that "Charles is a ghost" (p.69), that he would soon go away, and that he is causing uncle Julian to become more sick. The last straw was when Mary Katherine had asked Charles directly "Please will you go way?" (p.80) and his reply was no. The third step appeared when Charles kept threatening Merricat that he would win Constance over. She was worried about losing her sister's affection, so, this young girl decided to scare Charles away. She started listing off poisonous foods and their effect on the human body. On top of that, she trashed his bedroom to the point where it became unrecognizable. Her last act of violence towards Charles was when she started a fire in his bedroom which had successfully gotten her rid of him. She had said: "There would be nothing of Charles in there now, even his pipe must have been consumed [by the fire]" (p.102). In this scene, Merricat had repeatedly said that the fire that she had started was Charles' fire. This sentence alone represented her disconnection to the fire that she had started, nothing was her fault, she merely took a measure to get rid of a nuisance. This concept was mostly visible when Merricat said " I wondered if I could go up the stairs and shut the door to our father's room and keep the fire inside, belonging entirely to Charles..." (p.102) Through those actions, it is noticeable that Mary Katherine takes no responsibility when trying to stop change. She will take on drastic measures if she has to in order to stop anything that she does not like. In her mind, the only people living in the house is her and Constance. Anyone else is an enemy.

Second of all, Constance was, initially, welcoming change for most of the book, but retreated and isolated herself completely by the end. At the beginning of the book, Constance appears to have been isolated in the Blackwood property for the past six years, since the murder of her family. She first starts entertaining this idea to stop isolating herself when Mrs. Helen Clarke and Mrs. Lucille Wright come join her at her house for tea. Both women tried during that time to influence Constance to leave the house saying that "[Constance has] done penance long enough" (p.27). Constance, at this point, said "I'll have to think."...

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